Guidance on selling

We promote opportunities for organisations from all sectors to work with the BFI, and we procure goods and services totalling on average £25 million a year.

How the BFI buys

There are three main areas of procurement:

  • goods
  • services (including consultancy)
  • works (including property maintenance and construction)

Tender process

In line with UK Public Procurement Regulations the BFI has to establish a set of procurement tendering and contracting regulations and procedures, which apply to all its contracts.

The table below summarises the procedures we must follow for certain values of contracts / orders. All values are exclusive of VAT.

Value of orderMinimum number of quotes
Up to £500
1 written or verbal quote
£501 to £10,000
2 written quotes

Tender thresholds and advertising

Value of contract: £10,001 to £189,330 – Requirement advertised on the BFI e-tendering website (In-Tend) and the government’s ‘Contracts Finder’ website.

Value of contract: over £189,330 – In addition to the above, due to UK procurement regulations, the requirement must also be advertised on the government’s ‘Find a Tender’ website.

Total spend is the total contract value over the length of the contract. For example, a 3-year contract valued at £4,000 a year has a total contract value of £12,000.

Applying for tender documents

Anyone can apply to be selected to tender for a contract. However, before you can do this you must register as a supplier. Please note registering does not automatically mean you are a supplier to the BFI. It means that you are registered to express an interest in any tender opportunities we have.

Visit the BFI e-tendering website for further details.

For tenders in some cases we will use a pre-qualifying selection process known as an SSQ (standard selection questionnaire). This assesses the application against certain qualifying criteria and the ability to meet the requirements of the contract. Shortlisted applicants are then sent tender documents and invited to submit tenders. Please read the conditions of submission of electronic documents.

Insurance requirements

Before being invited to tender, contractors and nominated sub-contractors must provide evidence of appropriate insurance. The normal minimum insurance cover acceptable to us for any one occurrence or series of occurrences arising out of one event is given below:

Type of insurance (where appropriate)Minimum cover
Public liability
£10 million
Product liability
£10 million
Employer’s liability
£10 million
Professional indemnity (if applicable)
£2 million

Insurance requirements may be reduced or increased for some contracts depending on the nature of the contracts.

Completion of tender documents

We will send notes of guidance with all tender documents. You must complete and return the tender by the given date and time.

Tender opening

All tenders are opened under transparent, fair and strictly controlled conditions, usually by 2 members of procurement staff.

Contract award

Contracts are awarded to tenders that represent best value for money by meeting the evaluation criteria: for example, experience, fitting the specification, technical requirements and financial assessment.

Unsuccessful tenders

We will notify all unsuccessful tender applicants in writing and offer a debrief.

Transparency agenda

The BFI is a non-departmental public body (NDPB). In line with its aims for greater transparency in public sector procurement and contracting, the government has outlined its requirements across all its operations in order for the public to be able to hold public bodies and politicians to account. This includes commitments relating to public expenditure, intended to help achieve better value for money.

As part of the transparency agenda, suppliers and organisations looking to bid for contracts should be aware that if they are awarded a BFI contract we are legally required to publish the details of that contract. In some circumstances, limited redactions will be made to some contracts before they are published in order to comply with existing law.

Freedom of Information

The BFI is committed to open government and to meeting their legal responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Accordingly, all information submitted to the BFI may need to be disclosed by the BFI in response to a request under the act. The BFI may also decide to include certain information in the publication scheme, which the BFI maintains under the act.

If a Potential Provider considers that any of the information included in their tender is commercially sensitive, it should identify it and explain (in broad terms) what harm may result from disclosure if a request is received, and the time period applicable to that sensitivity.

The Potential Provider should be aware that, even where they have indicated that information is commercially sensitive, the BFI might be required to disclose it under the act if a request is received.

Potential Providers should also note that the receipt of any material marked ‘confidential’ or equivalent by the BFI should not be taken to mean that the BFI accepts any duty of confidence by virtue of that marking.

Further information

For more detailed guidance and help with registering please contact:

Mora Pantrini

Strategic Projects Co-ordinator

BFI 21 Stephen Street, London W1T 1LN

Telephone: 020 7849 4469